The downside to multiple guitars......

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dcm_guitar, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    I guess I'm still kind of in the Strat and Les Paul and acoustic phase. But now instead of a Les Paul, I have a 594, with which I can do anything I ever wanted to do with a Les Paul and a few other things as well. I thought that might be all I needed, but I can't seem to get the strat part out of my bloodstream. It seems to be the sound I hear in my head. The 594 is the best guitar I've ever owned, but the strat is kind of like home - someplace I always want to be able to go...

    -Ray
     
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  2. DreamTheaterRules

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    I can't get the strat sounds out of my head either, I just can't seem to fall in love with the actual guitars as much as I can fall in love with the idea of them.
     
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  3. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    When the neck feels really right and the pickups aren't too hot, I totally love a strat. Maybe if I was fairly new to guitar and had been playing other stuff a lot before a strat, I wouldn't dig 'em much either. But I bought my first one in about 1979 and loved it immediately. And now I sometimes forget how much I love 'em until I'm without one and then get one back and then it's back at full force passion. I'm sure I'd love a Silver Sky too, but I love what I have already (and had before this) too much to think about changing anytime soon...

    -Ray
     
    #63 RaySachs, Apr 12, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
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  4. DreamTheaterRules

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    yeah I have some really good strats now, and if it was 30 years ago I'd probably love them. But once I played a PRS I want everything to play and feel like that and it just doesn't happen.
     
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  5. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    I hope I don't catch that disease. At this point, I'm really glad to have a 594 that plays like that. But I started taking it for granted when everything I owned (basically just that guitar) played that way. Now that I have a strat again, it plays like a strat should, which is both better and worse than the 594. In that it's a bit ornery and funky and persnickety and sometimes even frustrating, but when you nail it is sooooo damn satisfying. Which is fun and hard and brings out something different in my playing and produces those totally unique sounds that nothing else does (even the Silver Sky which is a nice variation, but according to most reviewers not the same thing). And because it offers such a sharp contrast to the 594 which, when I then pick that up again, is such utter smooth and effortless perfection that I appreciate it all over again as if for the first time. And then I go back to the strat and appreciate it's perfect imperfection all over again. I hope I keep loving the contrast - the alternative of wanting everything to play like the PRS seems like a never-ending quest for variety but without variety and I can neither afford that or have the space for it or even have any desire for it. I hope that holds!
     
    #65 RaySachs, Apr 12, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
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  6. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf I'm a Dog! I do Dog Things!

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    as part of my way too many guitars problem, I try to have at least one of each icon. I do think a Stratocaster with vintage single coils is an iconic guitar that I must have, I've been searching 15 years, I've had a couple of versions, the first made in Mexico version 20 years ago, just didn't cut it then I bought one with the Tex-Mex coils, that one also got sold, I've now got an American deluxe with the cutaway heel, the guitar acoustically is so excellent, as well as excellent playability, so I'm just trying to get the right pickups, it came with the noiselessN3 but they just had no sparkle,(but I have to have noiseless), but I've literally had 15 different pickups in it, trying to get it sorted, I finally have a nearly perfect tone, about 2 years ago I stumbled across the vintage 50s custom shop it had fat 50s, in the guitar Center, I was blown away , I was going that is perfect, except for the horrible 60 cycle humming, so I started looking at 50s style single coils. but I narrowed it down to searching for 50s style humbucker single coils, the mojo tone 58 quiet coils have hit a grand slam home run. this probably violates some forum rule but the guys playing is awesome check this dude out. I have played this video about 10 times just to listen to this guy play, sam vilo nails the Stratocaster.


    anyway back to this thread. posting my picture of way too many guitars. you just can't put them into rotation at much more than 10. the Reverend guitar is also top notch. it has a bass rolloff, which is fantastic, the PRS 's are obviously top of the heap.
    pretty excellent fun trying to play all of them every day though. the hello Kitty is also fully upgraded total rock machine with Richie Kotzen strat neck. pearly gates with coil split microswitch added.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    Nice family:D
     
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  8. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Good looking herd! Dig the Hello Kitty!
     
  9. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    Those Quiet-Coils sound really good and that's a hell of a family shot (although my bias says there really should be a classic SSS strat in it somewhere)!

    I've had strat pickups I've thought about changing out before, but I don't mind a bit of 60-cycle hum, particularly if I have another guitar with buckers as an option. And I can tell you for sure, I'll never change out the pickups in this Cray strat. They're sublime. I'd never played a Cray before and didn't know how different it sounded than any other strat I've played (while still sounding EXACTLY like a strat should), but now that I have, it's my new gold standard. Whatever combination of hardtail and pickups and maybe the deeper neck - I don't know how all of the variables interact. But this is the strat I was looking for without realizing it. And of course, the 594 needs no explanation or defense around here! Then again, I've heard people here talk about swapping out the bridge pickup in the 594 too (perhaps you among them, since you don't have a cover on that pickup?), and I'm absolutely not doing that either. I'm digging my gear just as it is and I'm sitting tight. I've never been much of a tinkerer with guitars though - I was with bikes, but with guitars I don't do much beyond real basic setup stuff. And when that gets beyond my meager abilities, I'm not afraid to take them to a tech either...

    -Ray
     
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  10. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf I'm a Dog! I do Dog Things!

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    Do you have the full Monty Robert Cray, from the custom shop? Or do you have the made in Mexico version(which still gets good reviews). the custom shop is based off of his favorite 1958 and 1964 version strats, agreed you should not consider changing a sublime pickup.
    I went to an Eric Johnson clinic, every other sentence in each demo, when he stopped playing the 60 cycle hum was nearly unbearable for him and the audience. he would literally walk around the stage spin around in circles trying to get the guitar to find a quiet spot, he finally exploded yelling the name of the tech " oh my God Jimmy help me figure out why this is like this, fix it," it was in a conference room with tons of fluorescent lighting, the tech swapped out a few cables and improved by about 10%. but I had already learned to dislike it before that, I had already rotated regular single coils into the Stratocaster had the exact same problem as Eric, just seems unbearable to me with any volume. but Eric is one of those proponents about a subtle nuance of attack of the original single coils that he gets with his amazing fingers, so that comes with always rolling your volume to zero every time you stop strumming.

    that humbucker in the strat is a special design (still a mojotone) around the 58 slug coil, which is also the same 58 style,single coil. Then the wiring to the switch automatically puts it in the classic notch position single coil bridge single coil middle, to me that's the absolute classic Stratocaster tone, it is perfect, bright and wiry, same quack in position 4, but I've also found the bridge single coil on most of the versions simply don't have enough juice to play classic rock. it just gives the guitar much much more range, to have a vintage humbucker in the bridge. as well as all those quiet single coil settings that seem to have so much nuance, that guitar is finally done after five years of fussing. that's been my most difficult project it has been nearly 10 different preloaded pick guards.

    so I regularly swap pickups out, I probably owned about 40 different guitars, it's an interview process, Many never keep their stock pickups, (after three or four months of play the weaknesses are carefully identified) then after two or three swaps, if they don't perform they move along,. so this family each have their iconic tones extremely dialed in. the telecaster and the LP, are to duplicate Jimmy page tones.
    here's my thread on the PRS 594 bridge replacement. I really only needed a few extra winds on the humbucker in the bridge, 8.1 K resistance.
    superb guitar. I need those ZZ Top pinch harmonics to complete the equation.
    https://forums.prsguitars.com/threa...s-and-tone-chasing-5-pickups-in-5-days.29362/

    I used to take the time to resell the pickups, and I will for very expensive ones, but I just recently gave a 5 gallon bucket full of 30 different pickups to a local luthier for five bucks apiece. total $150, applied a discount off of some work.

    it's really interesting and fun to learn how to take the guitar apart and put it back together, and seemingly improve it. pretty sure that's how Paul Reed Smith started out. I have no intention of winding my own pickups though.
    cheers
    enjoy those guitars they are both iconic nearly perfect tones.
     
  11. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    It's the MIM Robert Cray. I'd just bought the 594, which WAS gonna be my only electric, so buying a custom shop strat wasn't in the budget even if I'd wanted to. Unless I'd returned the 594, gone for a used custom shop RC strat, and then bought a cheaper PRS, maybe a Zach Myer or something. Which wasn't gonna happen. On top of which, the Custom Shop Robert Cray has a 12" fretboard radius. I've played lots of 12" radius fretboards I've liked a lot, but I have yet to play at 12" radius on a Fender neck that I could even stand. I've tried too - it just hasn't happened. Don't know why, but I trust what I feel when it comes to how a guitar plays. Which is a nice little GAS prevention feature of the Cray custom shop! The MIM is 9.5" and I love it - I'm fine with 7.25 or 9.5 on a Fender as long as the rest of the neck feels right in my hand...

    I've certainly had bad experiences with 60 cycle hum. Part of the reason I eventually sold the 70s strat I had for about 30 years was that I wasn't playing much at all and I sold that and a Martin D-28 to recover some value from them. But part of it was my guitar space was in the basement of the house we used to live in, where I could crank it, but it had fluorescent tube lighting and that guitar with just about any amp would squeal like a banshee down there. It was insane, intolerable, horrible, etc. So that contributed. I bought a cheap humbucker guitar just to have SOMETHING to pick up and I never bonded with it in the least. But it was quiet! In my current situation, the wiring seems pretty good and if I crank my amp and kick in some OD, I can get a mildly objectionable amount of hum, but the playing overwhelms it so it's only an issue when I stop. And I'm mostly a man-cave player now in a small condo, so volume is not my friend. And at the volumes I play at, it takes some work to scare up any hum at all, let alone anything that would bother me. Actually, I've been playing single coil strats for most of the 40 years I've been playing and that short period in my last house was the only time it was really a problem.

    I'd seen your thread about testing and changing pickups in your 594 - didn't make the connection when I saw your post here. I was a skilled bicycle mechanic and inveterate tinkerer with my bikes, so I understand, but I'm not when it comes to guitars. When I find something that sounds good to me, I'm happy to let it be good rather than chasing the perfect, which I could easily mangle into the unplayable. I respect those of you who really dive in - I've done it with other stuff and I get the pleasures of it, but I've never been tempted to go there with guitars. Maybe if I can get myself sounding really good on a more consistent basis, I'll start worrying about getting my guitars there, but for now, they sound waaaay better than I do, so I just leave 'em be and let them help me along...

    I do OK with pinch harmonics on the 594, but the strat almost seems to insist on them at times. It's obviously a different sound, but that's where I go for those most of the time.

    -Ray
     
  12. dcm_guitar

    dcm_guitar New Member

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    I have a MIM HSS with N3 noiseless in the bridge and middle. I have an American Elite SSS with the N4 noiseless. The N4 sounds like a real strat pickup. If you're looking to experiment some more I'd give the N4 a try. They're quite good (if you're into that kind of thing).

    The new elite strats have the compound radius neck (9.5" - 14") that feels wonderful to me. It also has a compound profile (C to D). As you play up the neck it gets flatter and narrower and feels really natural. I've not noticed any intonation issues, and it's the only non-PRS guitar I have that plays as well as the PRSi I have.
     
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  13. Summer

    Summer New Member

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  14. Summer

    Summer New Member

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    Thank you for the 594 info. Glad you are enjoying it. My question is, did you play/consider the 408? I'm trying to decided between the two. My tug is to the 594 because it's so different than my Strats and Custom 24 but not sure I could get used to the 4 knobs/switch on the G word..... like 594. Never wanted a Les Paul. I know I'd get new sounds I've never had before with the 594 which is cool and part of the draw. Is it difficult to get used to? The 408, while I've not played, of course seems alot easier to operate but the pickups must be awesome if good enough for Paul's guitar. Thoughts appreciated.
     
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  15. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    I didn't try a 408, or a lot of other PRS models, because I really didn't want a tremolo. I've played a strat all my life and have always blocked the trem. My current and hopefully long term strat is a Robert Cray, which is a hardtail. When I got interested in PRS, I just wasn't gonna consider any with a trem - I've never been able to make use of them and so they end up just being more of a hassle with no benefit to me. I'd played a few other PRS hardtail models and not really bonded with them - I mean I liked them well enough but never enough to part with any big money for them. I hadn't played any of the SE's until after I had the 594. So I took a chance on the 594, knowing I could return it if I didn't love it - and for that much $$$$, I was gonna have to really LOVE it - a strong case of liking it wasn't gonna be enough. And I did - it was one of those instant, "yup, this works, this REALLY works" kind of reactions.

    I wasn't worried about the control layout - I'd been playing an Ibanez semi-hollow that had the same setup except there was only a coil split on one of the two pickups. So I'm pretty comfortable using two volume and two tone controls - really gives you a lot of options once you get comfortable with it. In fact, with the 594, setting the bridge to single coil and the neck to humbucker, and backing off both the tone and volume on the neck, you can come sort of close to a Fender sort of sound, almost a quack. When I was young I had an Ibanez Les Paul knockoff with three humbuckers and a typical Les Paul control configuration. I NEVER figured out how that guitar worked. It played incredibly and I eventually stumbled upon a sound I really liked and I basically just left it there - I didn't want to mess it up by changing anything! But a regular two pickup, three ways switch, and four knob setup I do OK with.

    I've recently added a PRS Soapbar II that I picked up for about $300 to the mix, so I'm really blowing my whole minimalist thing out of the water. And I love it. But it's really screwing up my mental state, so I may yet return it - I'm rediscovering the downside of having too many guitars. Which for me may be three. There's something about having a 594 and a Strat, which are such completely different animals, that it's a really easy binary choice every time I sit down to play - I'm clearly in the mood to play one or the other. A shrink is gonna have to figure out why I always reach for the 594 earlier in the day and the strat later and into the evening, but that seems to be what I do. But the Soapbar is really messing me up. It's definitely it's own beast, but it plays kind of a like the 594 (just not near as well) and it's got the funky sound, a bit more toward a strat, but clearly different. But it's kind of giving me too much to think about and I'm finding I'm thinking too much about the various tonal options I have and not enough just about the music I'm trying to play. I love the Soapbar, but I really think I'm better off with two really different choices rather than three with one that kind of splits the difference. So unless I pretty quickly get used to this third option and find a way to work it into my playing productively, I'm probably not gonna keep it.

    -Ray
     
  16. Matte82

    Matte82 New Member

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    Sounds like you might just need a 594 soapbar. P90’s are the best imo. Beefier than a strat, clearer than a humbucker. Especially in the mids. So really you need at least 3 guitars. Which you have. So if anything trade the soapbar II for the 594 soapbar. Just my .02.
     
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  17. Summer

    Summer New Member

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    Like you I've been a Strat guy most of my days. I have a Custom Clapton that I love and play alot. One of my PRS Custom 24's has the Vintage/HFS pickups that are really hot so I play that with metal songs are when I really need to grind. It's just really heavy. Great info you sent me which I appreciate. Like most, I think it's PRS's version of a Les Paul which is fine with me. Great for Paul and his company. I've always been a PRS guy, Gibson not so much so I think I'll pull the trigger on this 594 and give it a go. I thing the tones/sounds will be totally different than anything I have. Anyway, thanks so much. Keep rockin and I'll keep ya posted. God Bless.
     
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  18. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    That would leave me with the same predicament I have now, but I'd also be broke. If I decide I really do need a Soapbar, I've got it - that Soapbar II is a very good playing and GREAT sounding guitar and I wouldn't upgrade it. So if I really DO need three electrics, I've got 'em.

    But I'm pretty sure I DON'T actually need three electric guitars. By that standard, I'd also need a tele because nothing sounds like the tele bridge pickup, and probably a fully hollow-body like a casino or a true jazz-box and maybe a 12 string, etc, etc, etc. Probably a couple more acoustics as well. But the thing is, everything beyond one just gives me choices that make me think more about tonal options and too little about the music that's the point of this whole endeavor.

    I've determined that I really can't live without a strat and I don't want to live without the 594 and the contrast between the two really does sort of keep me honest - I can't get bored with one or take one for granted if there's another substantially different one sitting there to pick up. For some reason, a binary choice seems pretty easy to me - I don't have to think too hard. The difference between the 594 and Strat are really stark and obvious - I just KNOW which one I feel like picking up. But the P-90s have characteristics of both, a kind of in-between setting that I"m finding more confusing than useful. As much as I like the guitar, I'm not liking what it's doing to my mental process and how I'm playing. So I'll see - if I find clarity and benefit, I'll keep it. And if I keep feeling the way I do now, I won't. Neither outcome would be tragic! ;)

    -Ray
     
  19. Matte82

    Matte82 New Member

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    Now you’re getting it. Variety is the spice of life. And sure you may have on or two go to guitars. Those are the ones that inspire you and you will do most of your writing/playing with. Then once you’ve got what you want sorted musically, you can think, man this part would sound killer with “this guitar”. Which inspires a complimentary part that would sound great with “that guitar”. So in all reality more is more. :)
     
  20. RaySachs

    RaySachs New Member

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    I've been playing guitar since late 1977, although with nearly 30 year of barely playing at all when life got busy. I'm not a terrible player but I'm an EXTREMELY limited player and I just don't need all of those subtilely different voices to get just the perfect tone for a particular passage. And if I have those options, they become too much of the point, when what I really need to be doing, and what I really derive pleasure from doing is just jamming on certain stuff and learning some new technique or type of riff or line or chord progression. I was happy with just a strat for a very very long time - it was only about the music and never about the instrument. At this point I seem to prefer having two instruments, both for the perspective check and a change of pace, and, as noted, a binary choice seems to be really easy for me to deal with each time I sit down to play. Particularly with instruments as vastly different as a strat and a 594. So, two is as good as or maybe marginally better than one for me at this point. But I'm learning I don't seem to like having MORE than two because then the shadings get too subtle for a quick decision and the shadings take on too much importance and, in my case, that's coming at the expense of the music.

    So more is obviously more, but for ME (and I'm not recommending this for anyone else, just recognizing it about myself) less appears to be better. I'm closing on 60. If I somehow get a lot better and more versatile in the next 5-10 years (which isn't impossible - I've made a lot of progress in the year or so I've been back to playing a lot again), maybe I'll reconsider. But for now, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna return the soapbar II - probably better get on it before Guitar Center goes under for good! ;)

    -Ray
     
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